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In popular and political culture, many observers credit nearly twenty-five years of declining crime rates to the “New Policing.” Breaking with a past tradition of “reactive policing,” the New Policing emphasizes advanced statistical metrics, new forms of organizational accountability, and aggressive tactical enforcement of minor crimes. The existing research and scholarship on these developments have focused mostly on the nation’s major cities, where concentrated populations and elevated crime rates provide pressurized laboratories for police experimentation, often in the spotlight of political scrutiny. An additional line of scholarship has looked more closely at how the tactics of the New Policing have become institutionalized in police – citizen interactions in the everyday lives of residents of poorer, often minority, and higher-crime areas of the
nation’s cities.

These efforts have often overlooked how this New Policing has been woven into the social, political, and legal fabrics of smaller, less densely populated areas. These areas are characterized by more intimate and individualized relationships among citizens, courts, and police, as well as closely spaced local boundaries with a considerable flow of persons through administrative entities such as villages and towns. The New Policing models have had extensive reach into the everyday lives of citizens living in these areas, yet little research has been done on their effect. In popular discourse, small-town policing seems like a different world from urban policing; police – citizen interactions are both quantitatively less common and qualitatively distinct. It is an open question whether the processes of policing and the experiences of citizens in these more intimate spaces can be understood through the same framework as urban policing.


Law | Law and Race | Law Enforcement and Corrections